That Light at the End of the Tunnel

OMG it’s like Christmas or the last day of school. I woke up so many times last night, had night sweats, and then woke up early with butterflies in my stomach and this feeling on excitement, anticipation and nervousness of what the day ahead will hold.

Then I sat there playing with the dog, and staring at my partner willing him to wake up, to only freak him out when he opened his eyes and saw me staring at him wide-eyed. I guess it was a kind of psycho moment…

Today is my last day in my job, that for those that know me personally has been – what can I say politely – ‘challenging’. To cut a long story short I finally summonsed the courage to resign, after finding a new job.

Which brings me to now. I can imagine this afternoon, walking out of those doors, the feeling of relief. The way I’m feeling now, I predict the following. I’m either going to cry my heart out tonight – not badly, just as a form of release I would imagine, or I’m going to collapse (my throat is already feeling funky so the inevitable release of stress in the form of illness, as my body tends to do, is probably on its way). But, I don’t mind, as I can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel, and I have never felt so relieved.


New Beginnings


So much food, so little time

After a week and a half of Christmas celebrations and catch-ups, I am ready to boycott food!

The Weekend before Christmas

It all started with our road trip to see my Dad the weekend before Christmas. His partner is an amazing cook, and he’s not bad himself. We were welcomed with a barbecue – meat, meat and more meat, some champagne (beer for the boys), and a little salad. A lunch of gorgeous chicken rice followed the next day, with vinadaloo for dinner…mmmmm. Since the next day was Sunday, we had to honour Dad’s wishes of cooking us breakfast – so it was bacon, toast and eggs (fresh from the chicken coop), with tea.  I forgot how good fresh eggs tasted. Yummo!  Bypassing lunch, as our digestive systems were truly struggling with the intake of meat, we came to the reason we were there – to celebrate Christmas.  And this couldn’t be done without food – so we ate…turkey, veggies, gravy, and more champagne to celebrate of course.

Christmas Eve Eve

Rolling back home from Dad’s, we managed to eat lightly for a couple of days (although Denis did make his first attempt at glazing a ham – which turned out beautifully – damn him!) until Christmas Eve Eve was upon us.  This was when we celebrated Christmas with my partners kids (as we wouldn’t see them for Christmas), so he cooked up a lovely meal of gnocchi and salad – pasta is the kids favourite dish. Lucky for us Santa also visited us early that night!

Christmas Eve

I managed to escape any breakfast or lunch excesses on the 24th, surviving on a piece of toast and some left over gnocchi (which was a mistake, as my stomach reminded me for days!), and luckily avoided a huge dinner.  We had spent Christmas Eve with some of my partners family – where santa again visited, bless him – and fortunately had to leave before dinner was served.  The ham and salad sandwichI ate that night was welcomed by my stomach.

The 25th of December

All week I had tried to come to terms with the fact that we had to do both lunch AND dinner this year.  I had kept telling myself that this would make sure that I didn’t go too mad at lunch – I would pace myself. But Mum outdid herself as usual…chicken, turkey, pork, veggies, bread, gravy, trifle, pavlova, fruit mince pies, crisps, chocolate, cheese, crackers…to name but a few. Plus champagne.  I must give myself a pat on the back as I really didn’t go to mad at all. I was pleasantly content. And then dinner rolled around where we went to my Brothers house.  Roast beef! Plus pork, turkey, vegies, more gravy…but hold the champagne!  I managed a healthy sized serving (meaning nowhere near my typical sized serving), and sadly had to pass at the most gorgeous looking pavlova as I had to go back to Mum’s for – wait for it – pudding and custard.  Now that’s a tradition of Mum and I.  She always cooks me pudding and custard on Christmas night. Sometimes it seems like I am the only person in the world who east it, but it’s my little piece of comfort food that I have once a year.

The 26th of December

Boxing Day. Mum cooked us breakfast, and sent us on our way with a big bowl of trifle and a pack of fruit mince pies.  On all appearances driving home in the morning, it was the traditional ‘day of shopping’ for people in Perth, as cars were parked on median strips, verges, parks – everywhere. Luckily we got to avoid the shops, as we had more food to look forward to at my partners Uncles 70th birthday celebrations. Now, my partner is Anglo-Indian, and the typical food fare at his family gatherings is curry. I never actually ate curry before I starting going out with him, but I have discovered that it is truly addictive once you develop the palate.  I had planned not to eat at the party, but that was just plain stupid thinking.  On walking into his Aunt’s place, well, you could just smell the curry and biriani cooking. NOOOOOO.

The 27th of December

You would think by now that the celebrations would have ended, but we had been invited to an afternoon with some friends who had a pool, which turned out to be a fabulous idea since it was going to be 40 degrees celsius. Luckily I still fit into my bathing suit at this stage – and everyone was pretty much in the same boat – so it wasn’t too much of an embarrassment.  Some wonderful thinking by my friend, saw grilled vegetables served for dinner, with organic free range chicken, some prawns, bread, and corn on the cob.

The 28th of December

This brings me today. I feel like a beached whale, and have not even really been hungry, although I had to force myself to eat since I was giddy.  I must say that I’ve never relaxed so much at Christmas, diet wise, and it feels good (well – at the time). I’m back to work tomorrow which is probably a god send, as I will be distracted by work.

There’s only one problem…New Years celebrations are just around the corner!  It is at times like this I can see the benefit from living in a country where it is winter in December and January. At least it allows you to cover up all the excess blubber that you tend to put on over this period.

The Art of Present Wrapping

Yesterday I sat there and watched as my partner commenced wrapping all the christmas presents we had brought so far.  I’d never realised it was such an art form, but he really puts my present wrapping to shame!

Denis’ rules for wrapping presents:

  • Measure the paper you need by using the present to measure it;
  • Fold and crease the paper where you are going to cut it;
  • Cut the wrapping paper with a knife – no scissors in sight;
  • There is a 3 piece sticky tape rule (this is not strict, but he is silently impressed with himself when he pulls it off!);
  • Finishing off the wrapping is all in the art of the paper folds at either ends – this really reminds me of origami.

The result is that he can wrap the strangest shaped present with style and finesse, people comment on the wrapping (i.e. my Mum) – and how perfect it is, and with all of these ‘rules’ he gets the job down quicker than I ever would, with less wastage (paper and tape).

Note: I tried wrapping a present today, as I can’t really get him to wrap his own presents.   One must ensure they use a sharp knife – otherwise the result is torn paper.  And I must admit this works (once you swap to a sharp knife), as I stupidly started with scissors, and one side of the paper is not too straight, then swapping to a blunt knife – tearing the paper, ending up with a sharp knife and a lovely precision cut on the other side of the paper!  Oh – and I managed the 3 piece sticky tape rule. WOOH!

Loss at Christmas

Death is inevitable – ‘Just like taxes’ – or so I’ve been told numerous times this year.  But when you lose someone important in your life, it can affect you in all sorts of ways…days, weeks, months and years down the track –  with those special occasions being especially challenging.  I always heard that the onset of Christmas (and the actual day) was one of the hardest.  I guess that’s what my family is experiencing.

It’s been about 6 months since Nan passed on.  In a way it’s gotten easier, but the memories live on, and sometimes the thoughts coming trickling back, or – like yesterday – hitting me like a tsunami.

Nan and Me - Christmas 2009

I know I’m not alone though.  My dear Uncle, who lived with Nan for his whole life, still has the feeling that he will get back from his night shift with a beer waiting for him on the kitchen bench. A nice ‘night’ cap before going to bed.  My Mum has been walking around the shops christmas shopping, with a little tear in her eyes, at it was at Christmas we would always put the most thought into the gifts for my Nan (and her Mum).  Me. I’m also missing that.  I opened my underwear draw the other day – where I place a few special mementos (right next to the bed) – and remembered that’s where I had put what I gave Nan last year. Mum gave them back to me a few months ago.  It was an ornate, silver lipstick holder and a old-fashioned mesh jewellery pouch. Unfortunately she’d never gotten the chance to use them, as she declined rapidly after Christmas 2009.  I loved shopping for my Nan at Christmas.  I still go into shops and see things that I would love to spoil her with.

At least the people that are left can cherish these thoughts – the memory of that beautiful woman – and celebrate Christmas together.

2010 has been a hard year for so many people, but I think nearing the close of the year we should use this time as an opportunity to also come together, celebrate our friendships, family, successes, failures, life, trade a whole load of hugs, and most of all just have a laugh.